Celtics capture 18th NBA championship with 106-88 win over Mavericks

celtics capture 18th nba championship with 106-88 win over mavericks

Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum celebrates after scoring during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals against the Dallas Mavericks, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

BOSTON (AP) — Jayson Tatum put his hands behind his head, with TD Garden fans standing on their feet cheering around him, and took it all in.

Walking to the bench, he wrapped both arms around Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla.

The journey was complete.

The Boston Celtics again stand alone among NBA champions.

Tatum had 31 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, and the Celtics topped the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 on Monday night to win the franchise’s 18th championship, breaking a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most in league history.

celtics capture 18th nba championship with 106-88 win over mavericks

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, center, drives toward the basket as Dallas Mavericks forward P.J. Washington, right, defends and Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, left, watches during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Boston earned its latest title on the 16th anniversary of hoisting its last Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2008. It marks the 13th championship won this century by one of the city’s Big 4 professional sports franchises.

“It means the world," Tatum said on stage after the team received the trophy from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. "It’s been a long time. And damn I’m grateful.”

Jaylen Brown added 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and was voted the NBA Finals MVP.

“I share this with my brothers and my partner in crime Jayson Tatum," Brown said after the 107th career playoff game he and Tatum have played together — the most for any duo before winning a title.

Jrue Holiday finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Centre Kristaps Porzingis also provided an emotional lift, returning from a two-game absence because of a dislocated tendon in his left ankle to chip in five points in 17 minutes.

celtics capture 18th nba championship with 106-88 win over mavericks

Dallas Mavericks forward P.J. Washington (25) and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, right, vie for the ball during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

They helped the Celtics cap a post-season that saw them go 16-3 and finish with an 80-21 overall record. That .792 winning percentage ranks second in team history behind only the Celtics’ 1985-86 championship team that finished 82-18 (. 820).

Mazzulla, in his second season, at age 35 also became the youngest coach since Bill Russell in 1969 to lead a team to a championship.

“You have very few chances in life to be great,” Mazzulla said.

Luka Doncic finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas, which failed to extend the series after avoiding a sweep with a 38-point win in Game 4. The Mavericks had been 3-0 in Game 5s this post-season, with Doncic scoring at least 31 points in each of them.

celtics capture 18th nba championship with 106-88 win over mavericks

Dallas Mavericks' Kyrie Irving, left, shoots against Boston Celtics' Jrue Holiday (4) and Jayson Tatum (0) during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Kyrie Irving finished with just 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting and has lost 13 of the last 14 meetings against the Celtics team he left in the summer of 2019 to join the Brooklyn Nets.

celtics capture 18th nba championship with 106-88 win over mavericks

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving pauses on the court in front of Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla, left, during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

NBA teams are now 0-157 in post-season series after falling into a 3-0 deficit.

celtics capture 18th nba championship with 106-88 win over mavericks

Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla, center, speaks to his players during a timeout in the first half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals against the Dallas Mavericks, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Boston never trailed and led by as many as 26, feeding off the energy of the Garden crowd.

Dallas was within 16-15 early before the Celtics closed the first quarter on a 12-3 run that included eight combined points by Tatum and Brown.

celtics capture 18th nba championship with 106-88 win over mavericks

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, front, drives with the ball as Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, back, defends during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Celtics did it again in the second quarter when the Mavericks trimmed what had been a 15-point deficit to nine. Boston ended the period with a 19-7 spurt that was capped by a half-court buzzer beater by Payton Pritchard — his second such shot of the series — to give Boston a 67-46 halftime lead.

celtics capture 18th nba championship with 106-88 win over mavericks

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77)goes up to shoot at the basket in front of Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, left, and forward Jayson Tatum (0) during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Over the last two minutes of the first and second quarters, the Celtics outscored the Mavericks 22-4.

The Celtics never looked back.

Russell’s widow, Jeannine Russell, and his daughter Karen Russell were in TD Garden to salute the newest generation of Celtics champions.

celtics capture 18th nba championship with 106-88 win over mavericks

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, right, vie for control of the ball during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

They watched current Celtics stars Tatum and Brown earn their first rings. It was the trade that sent 2008 champions Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn in 2013 that netted Boston the draft picks it eventually used to select Brown and Tatum third overall in back-to-back drafts in 2016 and 2017.

celtics capture 18th nba championship with 106-88 win over mavericks

Dallas Mavericks forward Derrick Jones Jr. (55) shoots in front of Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) as Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, left, defends during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The All-Stars came into their own this season, leading a Celtics team that was built around taking and making a high number of 3-pointers, and a defence that rated as the league’s best during the regular season.

The duo made it to at least the Eastern Conference finals as teammates four previous times.

They finally reached the finish line in their fifth deep playoff run together.

After both struggling at times offensively in the series, Tatum and Brown hit a groove in Game 5, combining for 31 points and 11 assists in the first half.

celtics capture 18th nba championship with 106-88 win over mavericks

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd, center, speaks with guard Kyrie Irving, center right, and center Dereck Lively II, top right, during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals against the Boston Celtics, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

It helped bring out all the attributes that made Boston the NBA’s most formidable team this post-season — spreading teams out, sharing the ball, and causing havoc on defence.

And it put a championship bow on a dizzying stretch for the Celtics, that saw them lose in the finals to the Golden State Warriors in 2022 and then fail to return last season after a Game 7 home loss to the Miami Heat in the conference finals.

celtics capture 18th nba championship with 106-88 win over mavericks

Boston Celtics' Jrue Holiday, right, and Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic (77) battle for the ball during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

Kyle Hightower, The Associated Press

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